Trigger Warning: This blog post contains information regarding an individual's trauma and survivor story. As such, it has the potential to cause significant distress, intrusive thoughts, or recurrent thoughts. Please proceed carefully. If triggers occur and you need support, please refer to the hotlines provided on our page of Resources for Survivors.
I used to tell myself, “I should be thankful it wasn’t worse… at least it wasn’t as bad as his/her story, or at least I wasn’t [fill in the blank].”
I didn’t see myself as a “Survivor.” After all, it only happened once. Right?
The truth is, once was enough.
Once was enough to change an 11-year-old girl’s view of the world.
Once was enough to make her mistrust the adults in her life who were supposed to protect her.
Once was enough to cause shame, fear, and self-doubt that would haunt her for the rest of her life.
Once was enough to destroy her confidence — something she would forever work to rebuild.
Once was enough to cause her to hold everyone she loves at a “safe” distance.
Once was enough to defile her first sexual experience.
Once was enough to change the path of her life.
Everyone’s experience from traumatic events is different, and the effects of those experiences depend on our own circumstances. There is no trauma baseline that qualifies a person as a Survivor — there are only Survivors who let misplaced shame, doubt, and fear of judgment silence their voices.
Today, I will no longer allow those things to silence me.
I am a Survivor.
About the Author: Linda Donewar is an E-learning Developer for the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). She holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design & Technology and has over 15 years of experience in teaching and training.
Linda became familiar with the ACES study and trauma-informed practices while working on a training series for work. Upon learning the positive impact survivors can make by sharing their stories, Linda began volunteering her time with SHIELD Task Force and Survivor Tribe.
In her free time, Linda enjoys spending time with her daughter, Jessica, and going on weekend adventures with her husband, Greg, and their two 2 fur-babies, Zoey and Emmett.